How to Free Up Time to Focus on What Matters Most

October 23, 2019

A keyboard shows Don't be busy, be productive
JayDee Vykoukal

If someone asked you how much free time you have each day, what would your answer be?   

In our fast paced society, this question most likely elicits laughter.   

Yet, how much free time you have ultimately comes down to prioritizing and proper time management. So why do you find yourself endlessly wasting your time with unnecessary activities?  Usually, it’s because you’ve lost sight of your life vision.  You forgot about your “whys” for living a productive, well-balanced life, getting stuck in bad habits that have slowly developed over time.  Don’t feel criticized or offended, we are all guilty of this one way or another!

We all have the same number of hours in the day, but you get to choose where you focus your time.

Stop doing things you that you don’t enjoy.  

Spending energy stressing or trying to avoid something you feel is necessary in your day becomes a complete drain on your energy.  Can you come up with a creative solution to manage it?  Can you outsource, change the structure, or just completely eliminate it?  Be creative and find what works for you.  It will immediately improve your quality of life and allow you to focus where it matters most in your life.

Wasting time because of expectations.

Whether its meetings, long commutes, long to-do lists, and house chores, how often do we “create” tasks or end up getting talk into something that wastes our valuable time.  You’ll know when these tasks are unnecessary when you find yourself dreading and then regretting ever committing to them.  Ultimately, they have no value in your life and you probably agreed to them out of habit or societal expectations.   Be aware of these and get rid of them!  

Author Craig Ballantyne of the Perfect Day Formula discusses that each minute of unnecessary activity leads to two minutes of lost time in your day because of the energy it takes from you!

Failing to value your, and others, time.

This one is for all the DIY-ers out there.  How often are you determined to complete a task on your own, even if it’s not in your specialty, for the sake of saving money or pride.  If someone else can do it better and it’s not going to help you learn or grow, then delegate.  Don’t waste your precious energy on stuff that doesn’t help you reach your life goals.  This can mean everything from social media management, running to the post office or even cleaning your house or cooking food.  

Stop falling prey to distractions.

There are so many ways to stay completely distracted today with constant access to technology.  Other tempting distractions may include a night out on the town that renders you useless for at least 24 hours, online shopping and arguing with strangers on the internet.  Take the time to figure out why you keep distracting yourself.  Are you afraid of achieving your goals, wanting more out of life, and not settling for mediocrity?  It sounds silly, but when most people stop to think about it, they realize they are just scared.  

Tips for Eliminating Times Wasters:

  • Set detailed, achievable goals and go for them.  

  • Take time to reflect and actually remember why, what, and for whom your goals matter.

  • Tell your colleagues, family, and friends your goals.  They can help keep you accountable when you feel tempted to sit on your phone or say yes to a task you shouldn’t.

  • Learn to say no. You don’t have to do what every person asks of you and spend time pleasing others because of what society expects.  Value your own time and realize that some things just aren’t worth doing.

  • Set your schedule up in blocks.  During these blocked times, eliminate all distractions to promote hyper focused productivity.

  • Surround yourself with a team that complements your strengths.  This means outsourcing all those jobs you don’t enjoy to people that are experts and actually like working in those areas.  

Maximizing Your New “Free Time”

Now that you’ve realized how much time you truly have to focus on what matters, make sure you aren’t falling into a new trap of distractions to replace the old ones.   Establish these good habits and you are set for life. Here’s what you should make sure you schedule into your weekly routine.

  • Time for your health.  Exercise, adequate nutrition, and high quality sleep should be high priorities.

  • Stress management.  Take time for yourself in the form of hobbies, social interactions, taking care of your health (as above), deep breathing, meditation, yoga, reading, journaling, or any other activity that helps you recuperate from a busy day.

  • Review your monthly, weekly, and daily goals and make sure you that are actually taking steps towards achieving them.

Having free time is all about self-awareness.

Ultimately, having time is all about self-awareness of your life and habits.  When you can self reflect and work towards being your best self, time becomes less of an issue and you begin to make rapid progress in all areas of your life. 

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